City Sports Report

One law is stealing the show from the Final Four

The Final Four is here, but it has been overshadowed by a new controversial law in the state of Indiana. (photo courtesy of www.nuvo.net)

The Final Four is now complete as we will have Wisconsin taking on Kentucky and Duke versus Michigan State. The coaching matchups of Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan versus Kentucky’s John Calipari and Duke’s Mike Krzyzkewski versus Michigan State’s Tom Izzo are two of the best coaching matchups we could see. And as far as the favorite to win it all, Kentucky is trying to become the last undefeated championship team since the Bob Knight-led 1975-1976 Indiana team. The Final Four takes place Saturday night in Indianapolis, Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. You would think the attention would be on the games and the excitement of another Final Four. But unfortunately, there is something brewing in the state of Indiana that is creating quite the stir.

Recently, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law the “religious freedom” act. The bill, which is officially named Senate Bill 101, prohibits state or local governments from burdening someone’s ability to exercise their religion unless the government can show it has compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. The controversial law, which is actually in 20 states so far, will go into effect on July 1st. Although the law does not speak on discrimination, the prevailing thoughts on the opponents of this law is that it will allow for business owners to deny services to the LGBT community for religious reasons. Of course Pence stated that it does not mean that for that community, but it would be hard to tell people that they are not within their rights for not serving LGBT clientele. Instantly, the reactions have been all across the board. There are some that think the same way as Pence. While there are others that think along the lines of basketball analyst Charles Barkley. When recently asked about the “religious freedom” act in relation to the Final Four being in Indiana this season, Barkley had this to say: “As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities.” All in all, we can safely say that this law has effectively taken some of the spotlight off the Final Four and such other events that may happen there. And essentially, it allows businesses who assume a person may be gay, lesbian or transgender to tell them to take their business elsewhere without any type of explanation. Consequently, many are wondering how the NCAA is going to handle this situation going into next weekend. The short and long of that answer is nothing right now.

The timing could not have been any worse for the NCAA. If you are not aware, along with having the Final Four in Indianapolis, the NCAA headquarters is in the state of Indiana as well. Currently, there is nothing they can do with the Final Four. The sponsors are already in place and the arrangements have been made for everyone involved, so it would be almost impossible, even though it would be incredible to see the NCAA take a stand on this one right now. But after the Final Four, you could see some things happen from the NCAA’s vantage point. When speaking on the law that was just passed, NCAA president Mark Emmert had this to say: “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.” Even though Emmert did not state it publicly, the NCAA is not very happy with this ruling. Emmert has said that he will do everything possible to make sure that the student-athletes attending are not affected by this matter. But after this weekend, all bets are off for any events coming to the state as far as the NCAA can control. Even though many don’t like the NCAA, they will definitely not stand for any ruling like this. And what would be an even bigger stand from them would be if they move their headquarters out of Indiana, further crippling the income of the state.

By signing this into law, the state of Indiana essentially said they do not want any big events coming to the state anytime soon. They should also expect additional businesses to have a strong reaction to this law. Angie’s List, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, had an expansion plan in place that was going to create 1,000 new jobs in the city. But now that plan is on hold, if not dead in the state, as the company’s CEO was not satisfied with the law being passed. Also, the NFL holds their annual combine in Indianapolis every season and they could be in danger of losing that money and business as well. The main thing that comes out of this law and the interpretation of it is that the state of Indiana is now allowing businesses to be judges of people because of their sexual orientation. Of course you are entitled to what you believe in regards to your religion and no one is keeping that from anyone. But religion does not tell anyone to discriminate against another person because of what they are and what they believe in at all. Religion does not give you the right to judge someone, but apparently it does in Indiana and other states that have this law. And sadly, some do not get the reason why this is a big deal. Apparently, some never will get it.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

One Comment

  1. ASR

    March 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Shocking I didn’t hear about the Bill, I guess you’re correct the State of Indiana doesn’t want major events being held there!

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